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Wearables change world of BYOx

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A while ago, BYOD was a hot topic, and although it mostly fallen off the radar, it is now being replaced with BYOx or Bring Your Own Anything. In particular, this is referring to wearable devices which need Internet access and bring some new issues to network administrators, says MARTIN WALSHAW.

There was a period a couple of years ago when it seemed that every other article you read mentioned Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). Now it seems to have largely fallen off the radar, replaced by Bring Your Own Anything (BYOx) and has become an accepted part of the IT landscape under the wider heading of ‘mobility’.

But this doesn’t mean that BYOD has gone away. Far from it. Even if it’s not the hot topic, all devices that want access to enterprise networks or applications need to be tracked and secured according to the policies that have been put in place – this has become standard practice for businesses. On the horizon though is a new wave of BYOD, coming in all shapes and sizes, with wearable tech.

As consumer tech businesses scramble to create the next big thing, there is no doubt that we’ll start to see these having an impact on corporate resources. Some of these devices will have more of an impact than others: a fitness tracking wearable might eat up a little bit of bandwidth on Wi-Fi but an interactive and immersive device (for example, Google Glass) that is demanding access to files and broader Internet connectivity may start to bump up against firewall and access control issues. With wearables predicted to be a huge growth market, it’s a matter of when, not if, this will happen.

Unlike BYOD though, we’re aware of the impending issues. While smartphones, tablets and the like were dismissed as something of a fad, most businesses have learned their lessons and are better prepared to react to developments. What’s more, the professional use cases are more easily recognised (think wearable cameras for the police or head-mounted displays for surgeons), meaning there will be a greater readiness in some quarters to adopt the technology.

This greater awareness and willingness to embrace wearable technology puts most businesses in a position to prepare themselves adequately for the changing ways in which employees will be using technology in years to come. And as forewarned is forearmed, there should be no excuse for businesses to be unprepared for the impact of the new wave of BYOD. Here are a few thoughts on how to prepare your business for wearable tech:

·         Make sure that your applications are protected – no matter what devices are connecting to the network; if you protect data at the application level you should be in good stead

·         Plan for an influx of devices and the impact they will have on capacity and bandwidth

·         If staff will be using wearables for business purposes, prepare guidance on the applications and acceptable use

·         It’s crucial that your company maintains control over who has access to your network and data. Understanding who is accessing, where from and on what device will allow this level of control

Technology and processes can support businesses through the changing flow of data brought on by wearable technology, but businesses must also remember the people factor, and to communicate any BYOD policy. This will ensure that employees and processes are aligned and that business data is accessed within company policy, regardless of the shift in end-user technology.

* Martin Walshaw, senior engineer at F5 Networks.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

 

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5 things you should ask about buying a new TV

With so many technological advancements that cater to various needs, and endless options on the market, buying a new TV for your home can be pretty daunting. JACQUES BENTLEY, Southern African Sales Manager at Skyworth, offers a few tips when buying a new TV.

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Given the role a TV occupies in the home – providing entertainment, relaxation and a window to the world for the whole family – it’s not a purchasing decision to be made lightly. Not to mention the fact that you’re likely to spend a rather large sum of hard-earned dough in the process. Fear not – we’re here to help you decide. Here are five important things to think about before you swipe that plastic to ensure your new TV will bring nothing but joy into your home (ok, and maybe a couple of disagreements on what to watch).

  1. Size matters

If you’re a fan of action-packed movies or nail-biting sporting events, you already know how important the size of the screen is. Consider the space into which your new TV will fit, and take measurements of the wall area or cabinet it’s going to sit on to make sure that you’re being practical about its size. How many people will be watching the TV at the same time? Now opt for the largest screen size that will fit comfortably in your lounge (and your budget). Generally, anything between 55 and 65 inches is a great all-round pick according to price, performance and how close most families sit to the TV.

  1. Is it digital-ready?

South Africa’s digital migration is upon us and by June 2019, you’ll either need a digital-ready TV that can transmit digital signals or a Set-Top Box to decode digital signals for your old, box-style analogue TV set. The benefits of investing in a digital TV include crystal-clear image quality, excellent sound and a wider range of channels. Ask the sales assistant to show you their range of digital ready TVs when making your selection.

  1. Does it have a 4K screen resolution?

Resolution refers to the sharpness of the TV picture, usually in terms of horizontal lines of pixels. Ultra HD/ 4K sets have four times more pixels than current Full HD screens. That’s as many as 2 160 horizontal lines, or 3 840 x 2 160 pixels. The result? Super-sharp, detailed and lifelike images, even on large screen sizes. For this reason, a 4K resolution is becoming increasingly popular because it’s a much better choice if you want to future-proof your investment – Skyworth’s G6 model was created with this in mind; it’s basically an Android TV made for the future.

  1. What will you be using your TV for?

Apart from the obvious activity of chilling out to watch your favourite shows, what else do you want to be able to do with your TV? Will your kids be using it to play games? Will you be streaming shows on it? All of these preferences will impact the specific features that will attract you to buy a certain model over another one, so it’s wise to do your research, either online or in store, before you say ‘yes’ to the device. Also, look out for at least four HDMI ports at the back of the set as these tend to get used up very quickly, especially if you are using accessories like a sound bar.

  1. Does it include cutting-edge technology?

From Google Voice Assist, allowing you to speak to your TV, to rich connectivity via Bluetooth, selecting a TV that has advanced capabilities makes for a smarter TV and one you aren’t likely to need to replace in a few years’ time. With Android System 6.0, an easily updatable operating system, the G6 TV is your best bet when it comes to constantly upgrading your TV without forking out money every time.

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Dynamite comes in CloudGate package

CloudGate’s latest mini-computer packs a powerful punch and redefines what it means to be a great desktop computer, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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With the dimensions of a sandwich, the CloudGate X delivers more on speed and responsiveness than most desktop towers in its price range. The practical engineering of the X demonstrates how tower PCs no longer have a place in the typical home, office, or classroom.

Compared to the previous generation of this device, the CloudGate X is a little bigger, at 12cm², but adds all the necessary functionality which makes it a feasible desktop replacement. The X weighs a quarter of a kilogram, around 32 times lighter than a run-of-the-mill tower PC. The X runs off just 10W of power, drawing less than 5% of the power a typical tower PC would.

The front of the mini-computer provides two USB ports, an SD card slot, and the power button. The side holds more ports, like the power jack, another USB, an HDMI, an Ethernet, and an audio jack. A VGA port on the back of the device is a pleasant surprise: a nice addition for those who want a computer replacement without getting a new screen.

The computer houses an Apollo Lake Intel Celeron Quad-Core CPU, clocked at 1.1GHz, which can be boosted to 2.2GHz. It contains 64GB of eMMC solid state storage and 4GB memory. The internal storage can be bumped up by another 128GB on request or replaced with up to 320GB with m.2, one of the fastest storage standards.

The chipset provides 802.11b/g/n/ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. For office environments, a gigabit LAN port is available.

Once the screen, mouse, and keyboard are set up, Windows 10 starts with the usual setup options at Microsoft account sign-in. This was easily replaced with Ubuntu 18.10 in a matter of 12 minutes.

Thanks to its fast solid state drives and quad-core CPU, the speed at which the computer set itself up after the installation was remarkable.

This continues to be a theme while using the computer: its snappy performance leaves most budget tower desktop configurations feeling sluggish. We ran a storage benchmark test against another tower desktop with a 7200rpm hard drive and the CloudGate X come out 4.5 times faster at reading data from its solid state drive.

In terms of Office applications, this means that the X delivers on performance with fast application start-up times of around 3 seconds for Word and responsive document editing. The X has no performance issues with running other business-critical applications, like Pastel, SalesForce, and Sage. Typical office applications had great performance and multitaskingl.

For playing HD video, it does well without stuttering, which could prove useful when used as a media centre computer. This is due to the latest integrated Intel HD Graphics, which now decodes H.265/HEVC video more efficiently than previous processors. Media centre applications are generally good for HD video playback.

Keeping in mind that this computer is not a gaming computer, it handles most pre-2013 games well on medium settings. The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion saw around 30 frames per second on medium graphics settings. The Sims 3 scored around 35 frames per second on medium-high graphics settings. Overall, less graphics-intensive games perform well on the X.

Development tools fare well on this computer. Visual Studio 2017 V15.8 was used to create, edit and build web applications with a few other apps open. Creating and editing web page code was smooth but the builds were surprisingly fast.

“Even though the Intel Core CPUs may have higher clock speeds and more cache, the N3450 in the CloudGate X will outperform them due to the extra cores – especially when it comes to multitasking,” says Xavier Nel, head of product at CloudGate and CloudWare.

Ranging between R3 500 and R5 200 (depending on the chosen configuration), the CloudGate X is a powerful system that delivers on several use cases across industry sectors. Even more significant, the cost of the Windows-based device includes a Windows 10 Professional licence (priced at R2 500).

Outperforming most office desktop towers, the CloudGate X shines as an affordable option to replace traditional tower desktop computers.

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